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Rollins professor says Biden student loan forgiveness plan could alleviate teacher shortage

Gretchen Robinson, a lesbian high school teacher in Orange County, Fla., poses for a photo at the downtown library, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Educators are cautiously making changes as they wait to see how the new law governing lessons on gender and sexual orientation will be interpreted and enforced.
John Raoux
/
AP
Gretchen Robinson, a lesbian high school teacher in Orange County, Fla., poses for a photo at the downtown library, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. Educators are cautiously making changes as they wait to see how the new law governing lessons on gender and sexual orientation will be interpreted and enforced. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Joe Biden says his administration will forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for most borrowers, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. This loan forgiveness program could help alleviate a statewide teacher shortage. 

— President Biden (@POTUS) August 24, 2022

According to the Florida Education Association, there are still some 8,000 teacher vacancies that need to be filled throughout the state. 

Rollins College education professor Scott Hewit says Biden’s new loan forgiveness program could encourage more people to pursue a degree in education, which in turn might help ease a statewide teacher shortage.

“Teachers are out there making some, you know, not not altogether decent salaries compared to a lot of others. And so that group in particular, certainly would benefit from having some relief from their loans because of their already low salaries.”

Hewit says it could be an incentive for students to go back to school to become teachers, which could help alleviate a statewide teacher shortage.

“It couldn’t hurt but as I’m sure you know, I think that the teacher shortage is a complex picture of multiple factors. And you know, forgiving loans for teachers is going to be one part of the solution. So it can’t hurt.”

In order to qualify for the loan forgiveness program, individuals must make less than $125,000 a year and couples must make less than $250,000 a year. 

The program will also extend a pause on these federal loan payments through December 31st. More than 2.6 million people in Florida currently have student loan debt. 

Copyright 2022 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur